Most Flexible Life Insurance: Ladder
Buying life insurance can be a decades-long commitment. Considering that your financial needs may change over time, though, it makes sense that you should be able to change your life insurance coverage as well.
With Ladder, you are able to decrease your coverage at any time through the online platform. Whether you pay down your mortgage, your kids become adults, or your household debt is eliminated, you can easily lower your coverage (and premiums) with just a few clicks.
If you decide later on that you actually need more coverage — up to a maximum of $8,000,000 — you can apply for additional coverage. This makes Ladder incredibly unique in the life insurance world, and a great option if you think there’s a chance that your needs will change over the years (in either direction).
Policies from Ladder are available in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year terms, ranging from $100,000 to $8,000,000 in coverage. Coverage up to $3,000,000 is available 100% digitally from start to finish. You can apply for a policy as long as you’re between 20 and 60 years of age. Keep in mind that your age plus term length cannot exceed 70.
Ladder term life insurance policies are available in all 50 states, with their carrier partners, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York insurer holding an A+ (Superior) ratings affirmed September 2020 from AM Best. For the latest rating, access www.ambest.com¹.
Quick facts about Ladder:
- Decrease or apply to increase as needed
- Available in all 50 states
- Up to $3,000,000 in coverage available 100% online and $8,000,000 in total coverage offered
- Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America hold A+ (Superior) ratings from AM Best
Best For Price And Speed: Ethos
Ethos offers several types of policies, designed to make life insurance accessible to as many applicants as possible.
Ethos’ term policies are available for applicants aged 20-65, and you can choose from 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year terms (depending on your age). Coverage amounts of up to $2 million are available, depending on what you qualify for. They also offer whole life policies of up to $30k for seniors. So if you’re 66-85 years old, you’re guaranteed to be approved in a matter of minutes, regardless of your medical history.
The application process is free, 100% online, and can be completed in as little as 10 minutes. Based on your answers to a few initial questions, their smart underwriting engine will recommend several personalized coverage options with customizable term lengths and coverage amounts. No medical exams or doctor appointments necessary—all you have to do is answer a few health questions on the application. Most customers even receive same-day coverage.
Quick facts about Ethos:
- No medical exams required (just a few health questions)
- Most applicants enjoy same-day coverage
- Coverage amounts up to $2 million available
- Coverage available in 49 states and the District of Columbia (New York excluded)
- Every policy comes with a 30-day free look period
- No obligations to buy and no hidden fees
- Policies underwritten by top carriers
Best Rated For Financial Strength & Best Riders: Haven Life
When buying life insurance, it’s important to pick a policy that can be customized to fit your personal needs while also providing you with peace of mind for years to come. Through Haven Life, you can check both of those boxes.
Haven Life offers a number of rider options to choose from, so you can build the coverage that suits you best. One rider option is a waiver of premium (available in certain states), which means the insured won’t have to pay premiums if they are totally disabled due to illness or injury.
The next is an accelerated death benefit, which allows the insured to collect a portion of their policy’s death benefit while still living, if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. With guaranteed renewability, a policy can be renewed at the end of its term no matter what, even if the insured becomes ill.
Lastly, Haven Life Plus is an add-on rider that offers the insured access to a variety of helpful benefits and services including MinuteClinic access, Aaptiv enrollment, and LifeSite storage.
Haven Life term life insurance policies are available to applicants ages 18-64, for coverage up to $3,000,000 (only $1,000,000 if you’re 60-64). Products are offered in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with all policies being backed by MassMutual, an A++ (Superior) rated insurer from AM Best.
Quick facts about Haven Life:
- Available in all 50 states and DC
- Up to $3,000,000 in coverage offered
- InstantTerm gives immediate coverage (up to $1,000,000) for qualified applicants age 59 and under
- Multiple riders to choose from
- A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best
Why Buying Term Life Insurance is Important
Most of us already know that life insurance plays a key role in any long-term financial plan, especially if we have loved ones or assets that we want to protect. But do you know exactly why life insurance is so important?
Let’s take a look at what term life insurance coverage can actually provide to those you love, and what makes it such a powerful purchase.
It can replace your income. Whether you are the sole breadwinner in your home or earn alongside your spouse, the loss of your income would likely put a serious strain on your family. With a term life insurance policy, you can replace that income for a determined number of years to help with financial protection for your loved ones.
It protects your estate. After your death, creditors will happily line up for their share of your assets. Whether you have a mortgage, credit card debt, co-signed student loans, or even auto loans, a term life insurance policy can help protect your estate so that your family can keep what you have worked hard to earn.
It can provide for the future. You can use term life insurance proceeds to provide for any number of future plans, such as your children’s college tuition, weddings, or the down payment on their first homes. You may even want to use term life insurance to fund a special endowment, scholarship, or even as a source of generational wealth.
It can cover costly final expenses. These days, the average funeral can easily cost $12,000 or more*. Between that and potential medical expenses, term life insurance proceeds can save your family from these hefty bills.
Term vs Whole Life
If you’ve been shopping around for life insurance coverage, you may have come across both term and whole life coverage options. So why would you choose term life over whole life, and what are the advantages of this specific life insurance product?
Term life insurance is more affordable. Term life insurance is usually a fraction of the cost of whole life insurance. For example, $50,000 of death benefit for a term life policy offered by Ladder starts at $4.95 a month.
Term life insurance is flexible. Need to increase your coverage because you got married, had children, or bought a home (or all three)? Term life insurance policies can often be increased; if not, you have the option to cancel your existing policy and simply buy a new one that better meets your needs.
Term life insurance doesn’t have to last forever. Many people purchase life insurance to protect their families while the kids are young, or to cover their mortgage until the family home is paid off. Over time, though, the kids grow up and the house gets paid off, sometimes eliminating the need for life insurance coverage. With term life, you can buy a policy that protects you for as long as you need it, and ends when you don’t.
There are also benefits to whole life, such as those who are looking for a policy that builds cash value. If you are unsure what is best for you, check out Ethos' products (our recommended provider for comparing term and whole life policies, especially for those over 50).
When to Buy Life Insurance
Most of us have decades’ worth of exciting plans in mind. Unfortunately, death can sometimes come unexpectedly, making it important to buy life insurance when you hit certain milestones.
Wondering if this is the right time to spring for a new term life policy? Here is when you should consider buying coverage.
Buy while you’re young. The earlier you buy a life insurance policy, the less you’ll typically pay for coverage. That’s because your age, health, and pre-existing conditions all play a role in not just the price you pay, but whether you’re approved for coverage to begin with.
By locking in lower rates while you’re young, you can save hundreds — or even thousands — on life insurance premiums. And if you need more coverage later down the line, you can always add more or purchase a new policy.
Buy if you have others to provide for. If others rely on you for support (financial or otherwise), life insurance makes sense. So when you get married, have children, or as your parents begin to age, it might be the right time to buy a policy.
Buy if you have debt. Rather than leaving your loved ones holding the bag for certain debts, you can use life insurance proceeds as financial protection. Your coverage can pay off the mortgage on the family home, wipe out shared credit card debt, or even eliminate those student loans that your parents co-signed for years ago.
Benefits of Online Life Insurance
Life insurance looks very different today than it did 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. Rather than walking into an insurance agent’s office, you can buy a term life policy online in minutes, even if it’s at 2am.
There are many benefits to the online life insurance trend, too.
- Because the application process is 100% online — avoiding costly office overhead and in-person interviews — many insurtech companies are able to offer lower premiums to consumers.
- Applicants can answer questions, provide documentation, and submit applications in minutes, turning a process that used to take weeks or months into one that can often take minutes.
- Even though some of the popular online life insurance platforms are new to the scene, many are backed by established, trusted names in the industry. For instance, National Family was only launched in 2016, but is owned and backed by Prudential, a company that’s been around since 1875.
- Thanks to cutting-edge algorithms, online life insurers are able to provide immediate coverage to most consumers without the need for a medical exam.
Of course, everyone’s experience will be different and can depend on a number of personal factors. However, the insurtech of today has made the life insurance-buying experience easier and faster than ever for nearly all consumers.
Can I still buy life insurance during a pandemic?
With the novel coronavirus affecting the entire world, it might seem like life insurance companies would stop writing new policies. The exact opposite is true, however! You can absolutely still buy term life insurance right now (even during a pandemic).
If you are required to have a medical exam, there may be a waiting period before your coverage kicks in. Or, in some cases, you may be provided with temporary coverage until your exam can be coordinated.
How quickly can I get life insurance coverage?
Depending on your health history, age, and a few other personal factors, you can theoretically have an approved life insurance policy in mere minutes. Companies like Ladder and Haven Life can approve you without a medical exam, and qualifying Ethos customers often get an answer in less than a minute.
All that’s left then is to upload any required documentation and make your first premium payment, and you’re covered.
Will life insurance cover a COVID-19 related death?
Typically a pandemic is not excluded from life insurance coverage, but you will need to check your specific policy for confirmation. Just be sure to disclose any current illnesses, medical concerns, and recent or upcoming travel; these won’t necessarily exclude you from approval, but there may be a waiting period involved before your coverage kicks in.
Is the coronavirus affecting the price of life insurance?
As of yet, term life insurance premiums seem to be holding steady even with the global impacts of the coronavirus. While that situation could always change later on down the line — depending on how the pandemic plays out, for instance — prices are staying low for now.
* Funeral costs - source: